Hitoshi Saruta of CUBO Design Architect has recently designed this home for an international couple, a French artist and his Japanese wife, balancing contemporary architecture with a traditional Japanese approach. The house is nestled quietly atop a hill in the historic Japanese city of Kamakura, Japan, a wonderfully scenic location overlooking the Shonan coastline, with distant views of Japan’s iconic peak of Mount Fuji.
The clients, who first became interested in Japanese culture through the traditional tea ceremony, have for a long time cultivated a growing interest in Japanese gardens. Having finally decided to settle permanently in Japan, they intend the house to be a place for them to live out their dream.
In addition to their own domestic comfort, it was important for them that the house be equipped to host guests from overseas as a guesthouse that will also provide an architectural feast for the eyes.
The façade is designed so as to be completely closed off from the street side by a concrete wall, emphasizing privacy, while the rest of the house opens out as much as possible on the surrounding scenic landscape. The architectural layout and open-close study make it possible to block distracting structures from field of view, drawing exclusive focus on the majestic nature and wonderful scenery.
A celebrated hallmark of Japanese sukiya architecture is the beauty of continuous eaves, which marry design with function to protect from rain and direct sunlight. The studio has adapted the traditional design of continuous eaves in a modern way, maintaining their sharp, delicate beauty while boldly adopting new materials such as steel plate in their structure and finish.
Drawing on the inherent potential of these materials highlights the strength and delicacy of Japanese architectural design. The use of industrial finishes and plastics characteristic of recent houses has been minimized, with priority instead of being given to the coordinated use of traditional Japanese building materials (including granite, Japanese paper, black plaster, wood lattice, and louvers) as a means of showcasing Japanese features and communicating a Japanese aesthetic to foreign visitors.
“We hope this hybrid of modern and traditional Japanese design will integrate seamlessly with the surrounding nature and facilitate deep and meaningful exchanges with visitors,” said Hitoshi Saruta.